God the Son: Redemption

 

Text:  John 3:16-21

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

We continue, today, looking through Luther’s Catechism regarding his teaching on the Apostles’ Creed with article two. Here we focus on the  life and majesty of God the Father’s one and only Son. More specifically, this morning, we will speak of our redemption, our rescue from sin by the only one worthy enough to take the sins of the whole world upon Himself so that we might be saved, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

The second article is this: “I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell and on the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.”

In this second article of the Apostles’ Creed, Luther says that by confessing it we are saying that we believe “that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is our Lord, who has redeemed us, a lost and condemned people, purchased and won us from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil,

not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that we may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” No one can say that Martin Luther ever suffered from a lack of words.

To me the greatest word for us in that explanation is the word, redeemed. Christ atoning for our sins. Our Lord creating in us a piece of Himself free from condemnation through faith. Our Savior who delivered us from sin by paying the ultimate price by the sacrifice of His very life for our sake. Once eternally lost, now purchased by His blood, our debt, incurred because of the sins we had committed, paid in full so that we might live a new life of faith and hope.

Our redemption is one of those blessings we tend to overlook sometimes because we take it for granted. We neglect to comprehend the enormity of it because we’ve been blessed to live with it for so long.

Yet it is so important that we remember in every prayer, really with every breath, just what a great blessing we have been given. This is much more than any worldly gift could be. This is a spiritual gift given to spiritual people. It transcends our life here on earth by promising us a much, much better life for all eternity.

You and I are called to make decisions based upon our spiritual lives. If our spirit is weak, we tend to get worldly by letting emotions and feelings rule our decision making process. But if our spirit is strong, our decisions are based in righteousness and the Word of God. It’s because of this that God wishes us to live in spirit and in truth, not in worldliness and emotion.

Because of the blessing of our redemption, we are holy and blameless, without the guilt and shame which once weighed us down. Because God’s one and only Son redeemed us, the devil can no longer harm us by approaching God with our sins.

Now the only way the devil can lay claim to our lives is if we live within our worldliness to the extent that he can entice us away from God by promising us the false redemption it offers. No longer can he claim us based on our own righteousness. Now, he has to draw us out by trying to convince us we have no worth or claim to our redemption that Christ has won for us through His blood.

Our New testament lesson says it best: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 

What a wonderful message of grace and forgiveness achieved once for all by the Redeemer of the world. This shows us that it was not by accident that Jesus came to earth. For all time God had predetermined for this redemption to happen. Since that fateful day our ancestors made the decision to not trust God, He had a plan to take us from death to life.

Not only that but He has adopted us as sons and daughters, for the purpose of our salvation. Each one of us plays a part because we are now each part of the same family under Christ. From the very beginning, Christ’s fate was set because God knew that only the perfect sacrifice could redeem His adopted children.

I take you back to verse 7 of the Scripture we just read.  It says, “In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” 

Redemption cannot come through anything but forgiveness. The Barclay study Bible puts it this way, “For it is in Him that we have deliverance which cost His life; in Him we have received the forgiveness of sins, which only the grace of His love could give.”

When sin entered our hearts, it enslaved us to a world of heartache and bad choices. Some struggle everyday with this. Some try and deny it. But each of us carries the burden. On our own we all deserve the sentence of death because of the sins we have chosen. Yet Jesus Christ came to our defense by providing the ransom for our souls. That’s why the song goes “I’ve been redeemed…..by the blood of the lamb…..I’ve been redeemed…..by the blood of the lamb….I’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, saved and sanctified I am…All my sins are washed away I’ve been redeemed.”

1 Corinthians 6:20: You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.”

That is why Christ humbled Himself, to take on the form of man and live with us as we live, so that He might purchase us at the cost of His own life. Now, therefore, since we are bought and paid for, our lives rest in Him. Luther says he humbled Himself in order to “redeem us, a lost and condemned people.” Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” 

So, since we have been bought at such a high price, Paul tells the Corinthians that we are to now glorify Him with our Body. The dictionary definition of glorify is “to honor with praise, admiration, or worship.” In other words, we bring honor, praise and admiration to God for all He has done to redeem our wretched souls. We do this by making all we do, glorify Him.  With every step you take and every move you make, you have the opportunity to glorify God for all He has done for you. Your whole life should be a ministry to Christ due to the redemption He has won for you.

Get a new job? Make it a ministry. Make a big purchase? Glorify God in its use. Move to a new state? Plant the seeds of righteousness he has provided you. Have a new child? Baptize Him into the family of Christ and bring him or her up with the knowledge of God. With every opportunity given you, you will be given a new opportunity to glorify God for all He has done for you.

You have all been redeemed for a purpose. When you fulfill that purpose, you have once again glorified God. We were not set free from sin so that we might wander around aimlessly through life with no calling or mission or passion. We were redeemed so that we might live for God, according to His will and not our own. We were redeemed to accomplish something greater than anything we could accomplish on this earth.

In sin, our life is wasted and of little value as we travel from one empty purpose to another without direction or guidance. In sin, we continually try to lay up for ourselves treasures which are temporary and ultimately meaningless, where moth or rust destroy.

But because of our redemption, we no longer need to walk the wide path to destruction. Now we can make the most out of our lives by glorifying God in all we do.

The Bible says that “without vision the people perish.” Now we have something to live for, something to grasp on to.

Now we have a bridge to heaven that spans over all the heartache and sorrow this world has to give. When we were redeemed we were given hope and a purpose. That’s what a God sized love can do.

So, grasp on to the hope that Jesus Christ has provided you. Strive for a higher calling in life, one that supersedes what the world expects from you.

In the kingdom of God, you are either all in or all out. Don’t waste the gift of redemption that cost your Savior His life to provide. Redemption is a great blessing. Not only did he pay the price that we could not pay, but he has given us a vision and a purpose in life. When we embrace that vision and God’s will, there is a strengthening of our spirit that can withstand hell itself. Amen.

 

 

 

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